Upcoming Event:
September 20, 2022 at 3pm Atlantic

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New Voices in Decolonial Student Mobility - Dialogues Between Emerging and Established Scholars (Part I)

In this event, early-career scholars will share their developing projects with the GC-SARA family in a spirit of mutual enrichment. Our presenters will engage with contexts in Asia, Africa and the Americas, locating their work in a wide range of conceptual and theoretical frameworks to include: genre and rights theories applied to refugees, based on research in Malawi and Rwanda; institutional logics theory applied to internationalization in Taiwan; the concept of the public good as understood by prospective study abroad students in the United States. 

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Andrea Paolini

Yi-Hsuan Irene Huang

Sara Bularzik

Andrea Paolini, Graduate Student at the University of Pittsburgh

Discussant: Dr. Lisa Unangst, Assistant Professor at SUNY Empire State College



My dissertation “Human Rights Writing: Activist Composition in a Global World” proposes fundamental parallels between human rights and writing. Because human rights are inseparable from the writing that enacts them, they can be productively examined through theories of rhetoric and composition. Writing, understood as a sustained epistemic act of constructing and confronting power dynamics, is a key site for interrogating and acting on human rights. “Human Rights Writing” shows that because human rights are not fixed or absolute, but rather made, they can, like the texts in which they are constructed, be revised and recomposed.

Reading genre theory across contemporary political theories of just responsibility, and theories of constitutive rhetoric and containment, I argue that writing creates rights through composing processes, and that the documents produced serve as sites of human rights action. This implementation process involves translation and (re)interpretation—i.e., revision—of existing international texts and mechanisms, illustrating how rights are written according to the reality of lived conditions. To address the chasm between rights written in theory and rights written in practice, ancillary writing processes are needed to facilitate self-construction as agents of their change. Drawing upon the six months of auto-ethnographic and archival research I conducted in Malawi and Rwanda, I examine the process of writing and implementing a gender policy to protect vulnerable women tea workers against discrimination and gender-based violence, and the material impact of human rights documents (international conventions, refugee status cards, scholarship applications) on the lives of refugees, specifically a young refugee woman seeking access to higher education and resettlement through the Canada Student Refugee Program.

Andrea Paolini Presentation
00:00 / 11:10

Yi-Hsuan Irene Huang, Doctoral Researcher at the School of Education, University of Bristol

Discussant: Dr. Ian Craig, Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University of West Indies, Barbados



Convergent or divergent? Institutional Strategies for the Internationalization of Higher Education in Taiwan

Internationalization strategies, such as international research cooperation and English-taught curriculum, have been widely implemented by countries and higher education institutions (HEIs) to improve education quality and potentially benefit all students and staff (de Wit & Hunter, 2015; Klemenčič, 2015). While higher education internationalization is an evolving and context-dependent issue, relevant studies predominantly focus on Western contexts (Mittelmeier & Yang, 2022; Tight, 2022). To broaden the epistemic understanding of this prevailing phenomenon, this study employs a qualitative case study design to investigate how Taiwanese HEIs’ internationalization strategies are informed by the broader economic, political, and cultural contexts. Data are collected through semi-structured interviews with administrative representatives and policy documents of the Taiwanese government and case universities. This study applies the institutional logics approach that highlights the role of culture in institutional practices (Thornton et al., 2012). In the presentation, I will focus on the contexts and methodology of this doctoral study with some preliminary findings regarding how different organizational beliefs concurrently shape case HEIs’ internationalization approaches.

Sara Bularzik, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Denver

Discussant: Dr. Jean-Blaise Samou, Associate Professor at Saint Mary's University (Halifax, Nova Scotia)



Studying abroad, for any length of time and in any location, is widely recognized in higher education as a positive educational activity for U.S. college students, enhancing their personal and professional development and increasing their global awareness (Engberg, 2013; Stoner et al., 2014). While individual benefits have been explored and praised for decades, researchers have just recently begun asking about the impact on the communities that host these short-term visitors (Doerr, 2016; Elliot, 2015; Ficarra, 2019; Schroeder, 2009). Critics of education abroad programs that focus on the needs of U.S. students above the local populations say that these models promote a neocolonial relationship with host communities, sustaining the historical inequities and injustices that cross-cultural engagement should be working against (Andreotti, 2011; Pipitone, 2018). At the same time, U.S. universities promise to deliver an education for global citizenship (Goren & Yemini, 2017; Shultz, 2007) and the public or common good (East et al., 2014; Marginson & Yang, 2020). The purpose of this study is to explore how undergraduate students at a private U.S. university with a high rate of study abroad participation connect studying abroad with the public good. I seek to answer two questions: How are students making meaning of the public good through studying abroad before they travel? How does this align with the college mission of impacting the public good? This study will contribute to the research by focusing on students who are in the process of choosing their study abroad programs and exploring their concepts of public good before they travel. Previous studies have only focused on in-country experiences or post-program outcomes (Jon & Fry, 2021; Jon et al., 2020; Murphy et al., 2014; Paige et al., 2009). Additionally, education abroad research has strongly focused on whether or not students study abroad at all, so this study will focus on students who are going abroad and are in the process of choosing their location and program. I will use the theory of neocolonialism in order to critique the traditional assumption that all study abroad programs are a force for good. I will use developmental evaluation methodology, which is useful for mapping complex social systems that require innovation, adaptation, and rapid feedback to stakeholders.